Tag: Arthur Wharton


The Love Triangle: Ghana’s Red-Gold-Green

Past, Present & Future

“Sankofa” the Akan concept is quite simple. One must ‘reach back to the past and retrieve it’. I’ve written about Ghana’s beautiful and exciting present, and the promises of a gorgeously promising future. However, none of this would be possible without taking a look at the past, and retrieving the esscence of what exactly runs through Ghanaian veins to fuel our renaissance in today and tomorrow’s world.

Ghana’s relentess climb to the top should not be surprising for a nation built on the shoulders of one of the greatest Kingdoms in African history, the Akan Kingdom & the Asante nation. We are a royal people, regal, who will fight to claim what we want. Even our name professes this notion (Ghana means ‘Warrior King’). We have been, and always will be, a GOLDEN generation.

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However, our successes and our history has not been without pain. The bright RED blood of our ancestors has left a trail which leads from the Gate of No Return at Cape Coast and various other complexes where our people were traded as cattle, across the Atlantic Ocean, and connecting us to our relatives in the Americas and the Caribbean. Scars remain from in-fighting between tribes, and fierce battles waged physically by renowned warriors such as YAA ASANTEWAA, to ideological conflicts fought by political powerhouses such as THE BIG SIX.

Our present day flourishing in GREEN pastures of success has been because of the hard work of brilliant and innovative men and women dotted around our extensive history. Ghana, the first Sub-Saharan nation to claim independence, is a nation of firsts, a nation of innovators, a nation of leaders. People like TETTEH QUARSHIE, who brought Cocoa to Ghana – how incredible is that? He’s left a legacy which led to Ghana at one point exporting half the world’s cocoa! People like KWAME NKRUMAH, Osagyefo, who created a template which allowed many African nations to break free from the control of others and become independent.  People like ARTHUR WHARTON, the first ever black professional footballer. People like JAMES AGGREY, the founder of Achimota College, a seat of education which has educated many of Africa’s Heads of States, past & present. People like JOYCE BAMFORD-ADDO, the first Speaker of Parliament of a West African nation. People like KOFI ANNAN, who led the United Nations with trademark Ghanaian civility& humility – a quick look at his Wikipedia profile will amaze you at how many medals and awards he has collected so far for his tireless work in improving the world. And I will be bringing to light some of the everyday legends living among us in Ghana and around the world today, who are flying the flag high, and changing the world in the process.

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In my eyes, Ghana is the Lighthouse of Africa. It was the Lighthouse which showed other nations the way forward during one magical March night in 1957. Our BLACK STAR has never fallen. It will never fall. Our rich history has demanded this. And as we see today, our Star is shining brighter than ever!

“Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” translates as “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” To truly understand where we are going, we must take comfort and truly appreciate where we have been.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27

Arthur Wharton’s historic return home

Arthur Wharton Maquette to be presented to Ministry of Sports in Ghana

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This week, representatives of the Arthur Wharton Foundation will be travelling to Ghana to present the Ministry of Sport with an Arthur Wharton Maquette statue – symbolically, Arthur’s return to his homeland. The handover event will take place in Jamestown, Ghana, where Arthur was born and on the date of his birth, 28th October (1865).

Arthur Wharton was the ‘World’s First Black Professional Footballer’, who made his name while playing for Darlington FC (1883-1888).

Arthur was also the ‘World’s First 100 yard Sprint Champion’, which he ran in a time of 10 seconds  at the AAA Championships at Stamford Bridge, London, in 1886; a British Cycling Champion; Professional Cricketer; and he played Rugby  – a remarkable sportsman.

Ironic then, that here we are, some 130 years after Arthur Wharton pioneered the way for the black footballers of today, celebrating his achievements and contributions to football and sport and on his return to home soil,  and yet it is amidst the ugly face of racism in what is allegedly ‘The beautiful game’ that is football – in 2012.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation acknowledges and pays tribute to the work of all organizations who dedicate their time and commitment to tackling racism.

We also applaud those individuals who have put their heads above the parapet and shared their forthright opinions and actions, in recognizing the need to tackle the issues head on and in a much more demonstrative and proactive way.

The dis-connect between players, organizations, and governing bodies is a clear indication that there is something seriously wrong at the heart of the debate concerning racism in football.

Next Sunday, on the 28th October, as we present the Arthur Wharton Maquette statue to Ghanaian authorities, we ask those organizations and all others involved in the current issues to take a moment to remember Arthur Wharton, the first pioneer who blazed a trail for all black footballers of today – and tomorrow.

For more info on the Arthur Wharton Foundation contact:

Shaun Campbell (Founder – Arthur Wharton Foundation) : T +44 (0) 1325 257722 – Mob: +44 (0) 7854473516

Email: shaun@arthurwharton.com

Web: www.arthurwharton.com

Twitter: @arthurwharton

Something about football you didn’t know…

Just a reminder:  The world’s first Black Footballer came from Ghana!

 

Here at Me Firi Ghana we of course like to celebrate all things Ghanaian and nothing brings us more joy than showcasing true pioneers.

Well, how many of you knew that the first ever black footballer originated from Ghana? Yep, you heard right, Arthur Wharton is that such person. Born in Ghana in 1865, when it was known as the Gold Coast, he sailed to Britain as a trainee missionary but sensed a different vocation after winning the Amateur Athletic Association‘s 100-yard sprint at Stamford Bridge in a world record 10 seconds.

He was first signed as a semi professional player with Preston North End in 1886, as goalkeeper. His highpoint with Preston was to make it to the FA Cup semi finals in 1887 where they lost 3-1 to West Bromwich Albion. There was speculation at the time that Arthur was good enough to play for England, but he was never considered for the position by the FA, due in part to the racial prejudice of the time.

He was a multi-talented sportsman, and football became his main interest and he was Preston’s goalkeeper in the year before their unbeaten 1888-89 season. He was also understudy to the celebrated William ‘Fatty’ Foulke at Sheffield United, and played for Darlington. When Wharton died in 1930, he was buried in an unmarked grave, but a campaign to recognise his achievements, led by his grand-daughter Sheila Leeson, the Football Unites Racism Divides group and the Arthur Wharton Foundation, has gathered pace. It is incredible to think that 121 years ago an African footballer was playing his trade in England. Thus in a season where racism has reared its ugly head on a couple of occasions, it is refreshing to reflect on the impact a black footballer was having on the English game all those years ago.

Arthur Wharton paved the way for the Viv Andersons and John Barnes of this world who were among the first black players to play for the England national team. His was riches to rags story. His mother was a member of the Gold Coast royal family, and they paid for him not only to come to England but to be educated privately. He was supposed to train as a missionary but soon realised he was an exceptional athlete. What a story!

Therefore Mr Arthur Wharton; Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi(Kwesi)